These 7 Things Are Ruining Your Credibility as a Leader

Who do you think of when the word “leader” comes up? The list of great ones is endless, and history has provided countless examples of people we’d all follow into battle if called to. Whoever you include in your top ten list of favorite leaders, they certainly have one valuable thing in common: leadership credibility.

Whether we think of a historical figure or a great leader who’s on the scene today, he or she develops trust and loyalty. They labor with the people they serve, they care about their team, and they’re looked to for guidance and encouragement.

What about you? Are you building credibility every day, or are your attitudes and actions hindering your leadership credibility? If your team has lost faith in you, here are seven probable reasons.

You Lack Passion

Too many people in leadership roles are reserved and overly-formal. If you’re one of them, please know that respected leaders love people, love life, and live for much more than a paycheck. Do you have a dream, goal or passion that consistently fuels you? Or do you regularly give your team the impression that you’d rather be in bed or on a vacation far, far away? If people see a wet blanket when they look at you, you’re not credible as a leader. Find your passion, and don’t be afraid to let it shine!

You’re Not Inspiring

If you lack passion, you’re probably not inspiring. And that’s a big problem, because much of your value as a leader is found in your ability to uncover your people’s hidden energy and motivation. Whether on a battlefield, in the White House or in a corporate headquarters, a credible leader brings the best out of his or her people. If you bring your people down rather than inspire them, stop reading this post right now and Google “How to inspire others.”

You’re Not Organized

Does your desk look like the floor of a kindergarten classroom? Do you lose documents, forget about meetings, and miss deadlines? If so, you’re not credible as a leader. Luckily, organization is a skill that can be learned, so make it a priority.

You Don’t Give Credit to Your Team

If your team has spent a workweek staying later than anyone else in the office to complete a project, don’t accept praise in a meeting. Instead, say “Thank my team! They amazed me with this one!” Don’t let your team see you taking credit for their blood, sweat and tears.

You Don’t Do Everything You Say You’ll Do

Remember that time last month when you told your team you’d provide Starbucks every morning during this big project? Or that you’d push for getting the company to order those standing desks they’ve been wanting? You might have forgotten what you said in a passing comment, but your team remembers. If you have a habit of making promises but not taking action, you probably have very little credibility.

Your Priority is You Rather Than Your Team

Have you ever told your team, “Please don’t make me look bad,” or “I need you to give me your best work with this project so I can impress the CEO”? This tells your team that you view them as a burden. If you make them feel like second-class citizens compared to you and your career goals, you can bet that you don’t have a lot of leadership credibility in their eyes.

You Don’t Trust Your Team

Do you insist on listening to a team member’s entire pitch before he or she presents it to a client? Do you work late to check your team’s work, just in case you need to do it all over again to “do it right?” Being a leader is not synonymous to being a control freak. If you want to be trusted, show your team that the trust is mutual.


If you find that some (or all) of these credibility killers are present in your own leadership, the good news is that “great leaders are made, not born.” It’s okay to apologize to your team and ensure them that you’re working on improving. Tell them you appreciate all that they do for you, and thank them for their patience as you work on your leadership growth.

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